Opening to the public in October 2018, Bankside is a brand new hotel in the heart of one of London’s most dynamic neighbourhoods. Totalling 161 bedrooms, the hotel is a short walk from British institutions such as Tate Modern, the British Film Institute and Borough Market.
Bankside is located within a striking six-storey glass building that forms part of the One Blackfriars development. Alongside its extensive accommodation offering, the hotel also boasts a restaurant, bar, meeting and events space and library. As a crucial piece of the One Blackfriars jigsaw, Bankside is very much at the heart of one the most significant developments in London this decade.
The design of Bankside has been overseen by US-based Powerstrip Studio. The company’s Principal Designers – Dayna Lee and Ted Berner – cut their teeth producing award-winning projects in the film and television industries. Since founding Powerstrip Studio, the company has worked on a number of standout projects including the award-winning Hotel Zoo in Berlin and Seafire Resort & Spa in the Cayman Islands. The brief for Bankside was to blend an artistic led design with the luxury amenities the 21st century traveller has come to expect.
Dayna Lee spoke to Premier Hospitality about the Bankside project:
“We loved designing closely to the spirit of our Southbank neighbourhood. We desired to bring a design that supports the artistic endeavours of SE1 whilst providing luxury designer amenities befitting our brand. The design by our Powerstrip Studio designers has lightness, thoughtfulness geometry and optimism to inspire creative work. Each of our guestrooms feel like urban pied-a-terre’s with residential mid-century furnishings. Though there are a variety of room and suite layouts, the style is of one house.
“The exterior of the building shell, designed by the principal Architect, Ian Simpson, ripples with staggered windows from floor to floor. The light effect is blurred through blades of vertical glass. The non-stacking windows render an interior design challenge to achieve uniformity with furnishings; however it is a blessing to not have uniformity. Our room layouts are diverse.
“The most difficult challenge is the same as most of our design projects; how to make mechanical, electrical, plumbing and air systems become super sexy or discreet. Our teammates of talented engineers and architects are our superheroes of the biggest challenge on this project.”
Reflecting on the overall project, she added:
“Our design team’s ultimate goal for Bankside Hotel is to design a beautiful gathering place filled with mostly work in progress art mixed with high end collectible furnishings to establish a sense of casual warmth and creativity with luxury on the south side of the Blackfriars Bridge.”
In July 2017, project management, quantity surveying and CDMC specialist Fitzsimons was appointed quantity surveyor and contract administrator for the project. Having previously worked alongside Ryan Prince at Realstar for over decade, Fitzsimons Managing Director Alan Garrick knew exactly what was expected. Speaking to Premier Hospitality after practical completion, he said:
“I have a relationship with Ryan Prince at Realstar. Over the last 15 years, Realstar owned a portfolio of 64 hotels across the UK and I helped them manage the capital investment on public areas and the bedrooms across the entire estate. When that estate was then sold on, my relationship with Ryan remained and I do residential projects with him. I was aware of the project with Bankside because I did an initial review when the contract documents were being issued for signing. In July 2017 he said to me that they were looking for someone to steer the ship in terms of project management and quantity surveying. At that point I reengaged and my engagement has remained solidly up until practical completion on Friday.
“It’s a little bit unusual in that the new build elements of the work was completed by the developer and then we completed what I would describe as a very fast-track fit out of shell and core.
“I think it’s very modern. There’s a heavy emphasis on bespoke artefacts, pieces and artwork. It’s quite amusing in places and I think the colour schemes are vibrant without being something that will date too quickly. There is a heavy emphasis on a comfortable bedroom and bathroom that is very well equipped. The meeting room space is very 21st century. If someone wanted to have a media driven, communication driven event in there – it’s probably one of the best conference centres we’ve ever been involved in.
“On the first floor there is a terrace that looks out over a landscaped courtyard, which is going to be a beautiful area when it’s finished. Obviously there will be the facility for serving food and drink up there. There’s also the mezzanine lounge, which is part of a split level from the ground floor surrounded by glass. It’s a very nice fit out, quite a peaceful spot.”
As is the case when you have a project that encompasses a number of unique elements Bankside posed a number of challenges, most notably tight timeframe caused by an October opening date. However, the strong collaborative nature of the work ensured the project was completed on time – a special achievement given the hotel’s central London location. Alan added:
“We had a very international design team but Dayna’s team were stars – one of the best design teams I’ve ever worked with. They understood problems and they were flexible. My biggest concern when we started with them was that Dayna is based in Connecticut, some of her team are based in South Florida and most of the team are over in Los Angeles. I remember thinking at the time that it was going to be nightmarish to communicate but they made it really simple. My biggest concern turned out to be one of the best parts of the project.
“John Cummins and Ryan Prince are two very important clients for Fitzsimons. I’ve worked with Ryan for 15 years and he places a lot of trust in me. John Cummins was someone I met through this process but we were speaking ever second or third day and it was a good relationship.”
The 161-rooms at Bankside range from Modest Double through to the Biggest Suite, which totals 50sqm. All rooms feature high end amenities to make life that little bit earlier, including remote controlled blackout blinds; state-of-the-art TV entertainment system; USB charging points; Wi-Fi; Nespresso coffee machine; and Grown Alchemist bathroom products.
The hotel’s all-day restaurant, Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, serves a restaurant and bar menu created by Lee Streeton. Art Yard features a European-inspired menu using British ingredients with dishes including chargrilled cuttlefish with black rice and chorizo; baked bone marrow with curry sauce; and a cataplana of monkfish, shellfish, saffron and potato. A wood-fired oven is utilised to produce large sharing cuts of meat. The bar will serve snacks and small plates.
Looking ahead, Bankside is aiming to be one of London’s most sustainable hotels. All rooms come with power-saving attributes while furniture and fittings are made from sustainably-sourced wood. Plans are also in place for bespoke beehives to be placed on the roof.
Bankside is the latest addition to the Autograph Collection. The Autograph Collection is a selection of independently owned and operated venues that possess unique character through features such as artwork and furniture.
One of the most exciting hospitality openings in the UK this year, Bankside is set to be a hive of activity, from its social spaces and rooms to the restaurant and bar. To find out more, please visit www.banksidehotel.com.
Justas Studio is an independent designer and producer of homewares, creating meaningful designs for unique experiences. The practice is overseen by Lithuanian born Justas Silkauskas (ˈjʊstəs ˈsɪlkaʊskəs) who lives and works in London after moving to the UK to study architecture.
From the early days of his creative career, Justas was constantly focused on grafting his own unique philosophy and point of view. As he developed his practice, his work grew from architecture and interior design work to product design and art installations.
Recently, Justas Studio has been involved in the work at Bankside Hotel, providing the hotel with a bespoke Rift tray. Commenting on his involvement, Justas Silkauskas, said:
“Dayna Lee from Powerstrip Studio spotted my products on Instagram and requested I produce a bespoke lazy Susan version of my standard round “Rift” wooden tray. It had to be bigger and made from American walnut instead of oak.
“Combined with a rotation mechanism the final product was a massive 46cm diameter tray with plenty of surface and shape to showcase the amazing walnut pattern.”
“At Justas Studio my main focus is to create special and unique personal experiences through honest and uncompromised object designs. Inspiration comes from observations of everyday life and a fascination with systems.”
Kaswell Flooring Systems
Kaswell Flooring is the recognised leader in End Grain Wood Block flooring. For more than 60 years, their products have been used in numerous settings requiring durability, comfort and beauty.
Kaswell Flooring Systems is a family owned and operated business, specialising in End Grain Wood Block flooring. Harold Kaswell founded the business and established strong roots in the industrial sector with wood block flooring products and installation services. In 1971 Harold was joined by his son Norman, who sought diversification through the development of applications for End Grain Block beyond industrial flooring. Today, Norman and his son Joshua have expanded to serve the upscale commercial and residential markets with premium design End Grain, Edge Grain and composite block products.
Kaswell has been utilised in many types of projects including residential, corporate, hospitality, healthcare and institutions of higher learning. The company’s client list includes Nike, Paul Smith, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Stella McCartney, Amazon, Hauser & Wirth Galleries and Steinway to name but a few.
Most recently, the company worked in London on the Bankside Hotel where they transformed the reception area with End Grain Mesquite, a hard wearing and stable species used frequently in high traffic commercial application. Its unique visual aesthetic also worked perfectly with the other design elements showcased in the new lobby and lounge area.
Joshua Kaswell told Premier Hospitality: “Being part of the Bankside Hotel project is truly a great honour. We work purposefully to provide timeless, long-lasting products to fit design objectives for all clients. The building is beautiful and we are so proud that Kaswell is placing more of our unique products into the global marketplace.”